IUI- IntraUterine Insemination
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) — a type of artificial insemination — is a procedure for treating infertility.
What is IUI?
IUI involves a laboratory procedure to separate fast-moving sperm from more sluggish or non-moving sperm. It can be performed with your husband’s sperm or donor sperm (known as donor insemination).
Who needs IUI?
Intrauterine insemination is used most often in couples who have:
Mild male factor infertility (subfertility)-Your partner’s semen analysis, may show below-average sperm concentration, weak movement (motility) of sperm, or abnormalities in sperm size and shape (morphology). IUI can overcome some of these problems because preparing sperm for the procedure helps separate highly motile, normal sperm from those of lower quality.
Male factor- If the man cannot ejaculate into his partner’s vagina. This is usually because of psychological problems such as impotence/erectile dysfunction (inability to get and maintain an erection) and vaginismus (an involuntary spasm of the vaginal muscles so that vaginal penetration is not possible); or anatomic problems of the penis, or if he is paraplegic. The man suffers from retrograde ejaculation in which the semen goes backward into the bladder instead of coming out of the penis.
Donor sperm- For women who need to use donor sperm to get pregnant, IUI is most commonly used to achieve pregnancy. Frozen donor sperm specimens are obtained from certified labs and thawed before the IUI procedure.
Unexplained infertility- IUI is often performed as a first treatment for unexplained infertility along with ovulation-inducing medications.
Endometriosis-related infertility- For infertility related to endometriosis, using medications to obtain a good quality egg along with performing IUI is often the first treatment approach.
Cervical factor infertility- Your cervix, at the lower end of the uterus, provides the opening between your vagina and uterus. Mucus produced by the cervix around the time of ovulation allows the sperm to travel from your vagina to the fallopian tubes. But, if your cervical mucus is too thick, it may impede the sperm’s journey. IUI bypasses the cervix, depositing sperm directly into your uterus and increasing the number of sperm available to meet the egg.
Semen allergy- Rarely, a woman could have an allergy to proteins in her husband’s semen. If the sensitivity is severe, IUI can be effective, since many of the semen proteins are removed before the sperm is inserted.
How is IUI performed?
In this method, the sperms are removed from the seminal fluid by processing the semen in the laboratory and they are then injected directly into the uterine cavity during the “fertile period”.
Husband provides a semen sample at our clinic, or a vial of frozen donor sperm can be thawed and prepared. The sample will be washed by special laboratory processing techniques in a way that separates the highly active, normal sperm from lower quality sperm and other elements. The best sperm are separated from the rest of the seminal fluid. This procedure takes about 45mins- 1 hour. The actual insemination procedure is simple and takes only a few minutes to perform. Contrary to the common belief, it is not painful. Although it can be slight uncomfortable. The likelihood of achieving pregnancy increases by using a small, highly concentrated sample of healthy sperm.